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Microsoft to update Office 2007 beta

New preview release includes changes to the user interface, bug fixes and other changes to make it more stable.

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Microsoft plans to ship a new preview release of Office 2007 next week, a company representative said Wednesday. Formerly known by its Office 12 codename, Office 2007 is the next version of Microsoft's ubiquitous productivity software, due by year's end. The new preview is a "technical refresh" of the first beta release of the software, the representative said.

The updated beta changes to the user interface, bug fixes and other changes to make it more stable. Microsoft had said before that it planned significant changes to the way users find commands in Office, which can now be buried deep in menus. The beta refresh will be available only to the about 10,000 participants in a private testing program. Microsoft released the initial beta of Office 2007 in November. A second, public beta is planned for this spring.

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